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Mercy Hospital, physician ordered to pay $6.5 million in wrongful death suit

A Cumberland County jury has ordered Northern Light Mercy Hospital and one of its physicians to pay $6.5 million to the parents of a young man who died from Lyme disease.

In the summer of 2017, 25-year old Peter Smith was examined twice by Dr. John Henson for rash, fever, chill, dizziness, and a headache.

According to court documents, Henson described one of Smith's lesions as having a target shape during an initial visit but noted there was no sign of Lyme disease.

When Smith returned two weeks later, Henson again diagnosed him with a skin infection.

Several days after that visit, Smith called for emergency assistance and was transported to Maine Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with Lyme disease and Lyme carditis. He died a week later.

The attorneys from Lewiston-based law firm Berman and Simmons who represented Smith's parents issued a statement following the jury's award. They say they're grateful that Mercy Hospital and Dr. Henson are being held accountable and they hope the verdict will prevent future wrongful deaths.